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Letters: State budget shortchanges schools

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo gives the

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo gives the State of the State address at the Empire State Plaza and Convention Center in Albany on Jan. 8, 2014. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

In reference to "LI schools see NY aid slipping" [News, Feb. 7], Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's proposed budget falls short of the educational needs of Long Island schools.

The story states that 84 percent of Long Island schools are receiving less state aid than in 2008. Schools have been forced to cut or reduce sports, music, art and other learning programs, as well as lay off teachers.

It's unfair that my child and other first- through third-grade students who attend Brentwood schools have music class only every other week and have never had an art class.

Cuomo's proposed budget will continue this trend until there is nothing left to cut.

Melanie Mejia, Bay Shore

Newsday correctly points out that Long Island is again being shortchanged. What the article fails to mention is that Long Island's community colleges are again being shortchanged as well.

Like last year and the year before, the governor's executive budget provides flat funding for SUNY community colleges from one year to the next. Fortunately, for the past two years, community college faculty and administrators were able to persuade the State Assembly and Senate to increase state aid by $150 per full-time equivalent student.

Community colleges received $2,675 for each full-time equivalent student in 2008-09, but just $2,260 by 2010-11. We have been working hard to get funding back to 2008-09 levels, at the very least. The 2014-15 executive budget provides $2,422 per student.

Community colleges open our doors to everyone; we want to give everyone an opportunity to get an education. We transform students' lives and empower them to make a difference in their communities. The state needs to adequately fund its community colleges.

Kevin Peterman, West Islip

Editor's note: The writer is a professor of media services and president of the Faculty Association, which represents the full- and part-time faculty at Suffolk County Community College.


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